Cameron Mathison Receives Heartbreaking News About His ‘Best Bud’

Cameron Mathison

Heavy/Hallmark Cameron Mathison stars in Hallmark's "Hannah Swensen Mystery" series.

Actor Cameron Mathison is trying to make the most of each day he has left with his beloved dog Red, who has made many appearances over the years during interviews, on TV show sets, and in the actor’s social media posts. While promoting his new Hallmark movie co-starring Alison Sweeney — “Carrot Cake Murder: A Hannah Swensen Mystery” premiering on May 20, 2023 — he revealed news he hadn’t planned to share: his “best bud” has just been diagnosed with cancer.

Mathison has talked lovingly of his family’s Doberman since they got him as a puppy, back when his daughter Leia, who was born in 2006, was still young.

“My wife and I have always loved Dobermans,” the actor told Streets of Toronto in 2016. “A guy walking a beautiful Dobie told us about a litter of puppies. My daughter was just finishing up sucking her thumb, and we told her we would get a dog when she finally kicked the habit. Needless to say, a week later we had a puppy!”

Red has been by the family’s side through good times and bad, including through the actor’s own cancer journey. So learning that Red now has cancer, too, is hard to process, but Mathison says he’s trying to just cherish each day with him.

Cameron Mathison Asks Fans to Send Love Red’s Way

Mathison first alluded to Red’s health issues in an Instagram Story posted on April 27, sharing a photo of the two snuggling cheek-to-cheek.

“This guy is having a tough time these days,” he wrote. “If you have a sec I’d be grateful if you sent him some love.”

He shared more about Red during a new episode of the Hallmarkies Podcast that was released on May 15. When host Rachel Wagner asked Mathison whether he liked cats or dogs better, Mathison paused and then said, “Oh, man. Well, I’m just going to share this with everybody.”

After saying that he grew up with cats who were a “big, big part” of his life, Mathison continued, “But right now I’ve got a beautiful dog named Red. And we … I don’t want to be a buzzkill, I just want everybody to send love. We just found out that he’s got cancer in his bone marrow and on his spine.”

Mathison said that Red is now on pain medication, which seems to be working well.

“He seems really happy and he’s running around and we’re just gonna enjoy as much time as we have with him,” he said. “So, everybody at home, send (love) and I’ll send love to all the other doggies out there that are sick because I know he’s not the only one. So, you know, just send love to all the people out there who are struggling right now.”

Cameron Mathison Says His Dog Red Was Part of His Own Healing Journey

When Mathison was still co-host of Hallmark’s “Home & Family” talk show, which frequently promoted dog adoption and rescue initiative, he and Red, were part of a team for the annual AKC National Championship Dog Show, according to Closer Weekly. The soap star talked during their December 2018 appearance about his family’s history with Red.

“We were going to name him Bear, but there was a litter of puppies with different-colored collars, and his was red, so my kids kept calling him Red,” he told the magazine. “His full name is Red Bear Socks because he enjoys eating socks!”

“Red is either super-amped or in full cuddle mode,” Mathison continued. “There’s really no in-between. He plays nonstop. He’s my best buddy. I will never have someone so excited to see me every day, without fail.”

Their bond became even tighter the next year. In September 2019, Mathison announced he’d been diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma, a form of kidney cancer, People reported. A week later, he had partial nephrectomy surgery, which People called “a difficult procedure where doctors remove a tumor while only taking out a small portion of the kidney.”

It took time to recover and Mathison worked with a health coach to improve his lifestyle habits, even though he was already very active and ate well, according to Keck Medicine of USC, where he was treated.

Another big help in the process was the love he got from his family — daughter Leila, son Lucas, and wife Vanessa Arevalo — and, of course, his dog Red, who Mathison has often said is incredibly gentle and shy. Two weeks after his diagnosis, Mathison posted an Instagram photo of himself with Red, writing, “Pet therapy at its finest. 😌🖤#youremyboyred #pettherapy #feelingsomuchbetter #dogsofinstagram”

A dog lover at heart, Mathison and his wife attended the American Humane Hero Dog Awards just three weeks after his surgery. He told Extra TV that he’d been deemed cancer-free by his doctors, but that even he was surprised he had the energy to attend the event.

Though Red is considered the family’s dog, in October 2022 Mathison admitted to Soap Opera Digest that he and Red have a particularly special bond. Even when they go on a day-long road trip, he said, Red will sit with his head on Mathison’s shoulder while he drives.

“I mean, anybody who meets him would say he’s my dog,” he said. “It’s pretty obvious he’s my guy. We’re so similar. We have the same kind of energy, we wake up at the same time, we like to play and have a good time but also take naps. I feel like we’re the same being, as bizarre as that sounds.”

“He’s such a sweetheart,” Mathison added. “I love him so much.”

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